DENVER (KHOU) - "Tourists are coming for the slopes and the cannabis, and they go together on someone's vacation pretty well," said Tim Cullen, co-owner of Colorado Harvest Company.
But when the vacation is over, some tourists want to take the fun back home. And that's where the problems begin. Because while the pot is totally legal in Colorado, it's still very illegal across most of the country--including here in Texas.
"We understand the eyes of the world are upon us," said Brett Ahroon, manager at Starbuds Dispensary.
Denver dispensaries like Starbuds advise-buyer's beware, use your weed in Colorado, and Starbuds complies with state laws that limit each customer to just a quarter ounce of pot per day.
But there's nothing to stop ambitious shoppers from hitting multiple pot shops and buying as much as they want, and then stashing their stash and heading home.
"So many people call, and say 'hey I got a 4 hour layover, can I get there and back?'," said Ahroon.
Texas travelers like Bill and Sue say it's crazy to take a chance. They smoke all they want in Denver, but it's an open secret here that many others stock up and split.
"You just don't talk about it because it's not legal," said Sue.
Will you get caught at the airport? Maybe. But the TSA doesn't actively look for pot on travelers. If they do find some small amount, they'll most likely call police.
That's what happened a couple of months ago at the Denver Airport, when they found a pipe and some edible pot buried inside a jar of peanut butter, stuffed into a checked bag.
"It's definitely happening," said Bill.
One year since Colorado passed Amendment 64 and launched its pot experiment, demand for weed is higher than ever.
"Hundreds of people are coming through our doors 7 days a week," said Cullen.
Cullen co-owns Colorado Harvest Company and Evergreen Apothecary. They're sister dispensaries making 1 huge profit, more than $8 million in retail sales just last year. They're growing 100 pound of cannabis a month.
"These are not basement grow operations, these are professional organizations," said Cullen.
And if you still don't believe Colorado's pot experiment is working, look no further than this 1 mile stretch just south of downtown Denver. It's known as the "Green Mile". Here you'll find more dispensaries than any other place in the world.
Dispensary owners say Texas could see the same thing. In fact, places like Colorado Harvest would love to expand into Texas.
"If you're against legalization, then you're pro black market," said Cullen. "Because you're kidding yourself if you think there's no marijuana being used in Texas. We'd certainly love Texas to join the experiment too."
But until that day comes, Texas tourists will keep spending their green in Colorado, fueling the state's budding $295 million marijuana industry.
"I don't see why we can't just legalize it everywhere," said Sue.
That way the weed-cation doesn't have to end, when your plane takes off for Texas.
Dave Goldman ~ February 4, 2015

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